Liza is leveling up nicely in Baby: The MMORPG. She has reached the point where she responds to us, smiling and laughing when we play with her, looking around at her world, pulling plates and napkins towards her and nearly off the table when I hold her during dinner. Given that I don’t much care for very young babies — a post for another time — it’s a welcome change.
What is less welcome is her newfound mobility. She can flip over on her stomach and scootch around powered by flailing limbs and a generalized discontent at not being able to see anyone when she’s on her stomach. She doesn’t have great control over her arms and legs, though. They’re apt to go anywhere and everywhere, such as in your eye when you’re holding her. The upshot is that, at night when she’s asleep, she makes her herky-jerky way around the crib until she accidentally sticks an arm or a leg between the slats. When that happens, she’s unable to free it thanks to her poor limb control. That tends to focus her discontent very nicely, and she starts screaming.
Invariably, this happens at 5 AM or so.
Back in the old days, when we let babies to sleep on flaming hot coals while chewing poison-coated razor blades, we’d use crib bumpers: strips of cloth that go across the slats and keep baby limbs from getting stuck between slats. That way, babies can sleep longer and so can parents, assuming that they can ignore the shrieking voice of guilt telling them how their kid is probably suffocating. But we, like many parents, are responsible, another word for “over-anxious”. So what are we supposed to use now?
Chicken wire, that’s what. Its flexible wire structure and large-aperture hexagons are perfect for allowing unrestricted air flow while preventing the dreaded slat limb. Chicken wire is fairly small gauge, and could harm the baby, so we’ll probably have to dip-coat it with a soft, flexible plastic like one of the polyethylene derivatives.
Now if you’ll pardon me, I have a patent to file.